PCG: ‘Strategic deployment’ at Scarborough enforced under BBM admin
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has been implementing “strategic deployment” of their vessels around the Scarborough Shoal, also known as Panatag Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc.
PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea Commodore Jay Tarriela disclosed this Tuesday, noting that such an approach started since the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. came.
So far, the PCG has been able to anchor vessels some 300 meters from the shoal, he said. Tarriela vowed that their efforts to secure the area would be sustained.
“We have been doing this strategic deployment of our coast guard vessels since the new administration,” he said in an interview with ANC.
“As I have said, since the new administration took office, we have already strategized how we are able to take control once again of Bajo de Masinloc, especially the lagoon.”
“For so many months, we were able to calibrate our deployment until such a time that we could already anchor the distance of 300 meters. This will be sustained in the next coming days, but I don’t want to detail in public how are we going to do that,” Tarriela added.
After the 2012 standoff between Manila and Beijing coast guards, Chinese vessels guarded the shoal’s lagoon and barred Filipino ships and fishing boats from entering the area, the PCG official recalled.
He also noted that four Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessels are usually stationed in the area.
Will the PCG be able to maintain its station there? It’s possible, according to Tarriela, but maybe not for a long time.
“We have, but it may not be able to be sustained that long, for three weeks or a month, because these four Chinese vessels could stay there from three weeks to five weeks until the next rotation of another Chinese coast guard vessels,” he said.
On September 22, CCG installed an approximately 300-meter long floating barrier near Scarborough as PCG and bureau of fisheries personnel approach the area while conducting routine patrol.
Later, PCG members removed the barrier upon the order of the President.
Filipino fishermen earlier revealed that giant clams population in Scarborough is now depleted while a great deal of corals were crushed allegedly by Chinese fishermen.